A Vigil for Barry Lee

On the tail end of the original Baltimore Ceasefire weekend, a man is killed in West Baltimore

During the reading of the names at the end of the Baltimore Ceasefire weekend, Barry Lee’s name was the last to be read. His mother requested we attend his vigil in West Baltimore.

We later discovered he had been out to Cease Fire events.

We gather, slowly, a combination of family and Baltimore Ceasefire members to remember Barry Lee.
More family arrive for the vigil, spelling out Barry Lee’s name in candles.
Some of Barry Lee’s children kneel to sign their names on the Baltimore Cease Fire banner.
Off to one side stands the tree Barry Lee died under, fleeing an unknown murderer with a gun.
Only WBAL TV-11 shows up to cover the event, and Baltimore Ceasefire leaders debate if they would have come at all otherwise.
Older men stand silently as younger people help spell Barry Lee’s name in candles.
An elder from the neighborhood begins singing an old hymn, and people join her.
Ms. Ellen Gee steps forward. “We don’t know him. But we’re here for y’all.”
His cousin steps forward. “On behalf of our older generation; I’m sorry. We failed y’all. I’m sorry.”
Smokey, Barry’s stepfather speaks: “I’ve lost 3 sons to these streets, including Barry. 3. Who are we?”
Barry’s mother breaks down, Val rushes to comfort her. “I can’t take any more of this,” she wails.
A woman blesses the circle with sage, frankincense, and myrrh. “We must come together.”
The family builds a shrine of balloons and candles around the street pole.
23 people had been killed in a 2 block radius in the past 7 years. We read their names.
The memorial complete, mothers and children sit sobbing under it.
As if on cue, the clouds darken and rain begins to fall.
In a beat or two, everyone has gone, walking the elderly to cars under umbrellas.
And in a beat or two more, all that’s left is the rain. Rest In Peace, Barry Lee.

This is based on a series of photos I posted on Instagram. You can see the originals here: